iPhone And iPad Prototypes From The Wayback Machine
July 27, 2012

Lookie: iPad And iPhone Prototypes

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

There's always sparks when two tech titans clash, but for those who don´t know too much about patents and the subsequent patent law, this epic battle might be little more than watching 2 bulldozers play the slowest game of chicken.

Luckily, the upcoming stateside bout between California´s Apple and Korea´s Samsung hasn´t been all patents and legalese, as recent court depositions, documents and filings have provided some much-needed context to the entire row.

While the legal counsel for the two companies duke it out, we, the geek people, have been blessed with early iPad and iPhone prototypes, getting a brief peek into how the sausage is made, so to say.

Earlier reports from Jony Ive´s deposition yielded some pictures of an old iPad, either from 2002 or 2004 (Jony couldn´t quite remember) which looked eerily similar to the original iPad, just much thicker.

It shouldn´t surprise anyone, then, that Apple rejected many prototype ideas before landing on a design which has very clearly worked for the Cupertino company. One of the design choices Apple left on the cutting room floor – and left to be employed by other companies – features the iPad with a kickstand of all things. Also of interesting note is the name right above the kickstand on these old iPad prototypes: iPod.

You read correctly. A very obvious “O” where an “A” should go.

The iPhone prototype pictures are just as interesting.

Yesterday, All Things D writer John Paczkowski pointed some Samsung court filings in which the Galaxy maker essentially makes the argument that they aren´t the only ones who copy, pointing out a mockup drawn by an Apple designer of what looks like the beautiful bastard child of an old Sony Walkman and the iPhone 4.

Some of these iPhone prototypes look an awful lot like some of the rumored redesigns we´ve heard about in the past few years, but most of these non-working units are uncannily similar to the iPhone 4, suggesting that perhaps Apple really did finally get it right when they landed on the 2010 iPhone.

The Verge has the entire set of prototypes, and they´re very interesting to look at.

As interesting as these pictures are, it feels a bit like peeking at your gifts in the weeks before Christmas.

Of course, there are some who love to get an advanced look at what they´ll be receiving and look forward to it as a part of a holiday tradition. There are others, however, who have only peeked once and have been forever ruined.

While these prototypes don´t depict any future Apple product – and in fact go back several years before the actual products were ever released – they do tell a very interesting story as to how these products came to look the way they do, and in that story, we have a better chance of understanding where Apple could head.

The way they´ve circled around this metal-and-glass enclosure of the brilliant iPhone 4 design, I´d be willing to wager the next iPhone redesign won´t be so much of a departure as it is a relaunch. After more than a year of preparation, the two companies will finally head to court on Monday to finally resolve their legal issues.